Teaching EFL online involves all the same skills and knowledge as teaching face to face, with the added requirement of being confident with technology. Many online teaching companies have their own platforms on which you teach your students or they may require you to use proprietary software such as Google Classroom or Zoom.
There are a number of different teaching scenarios that you may be involved with which include teaching Kindergarten all the way up to adults. You may teach one to one or groups and it is also possible to teach specialized courses such as business English.
What qualifications and training is needed?
As you do all the same things as face to face teachers, the qualifications required are basically the same. It is true to say, however, due to the large numbers of private online EFL companies that the qualification and personal requirements do vary quite a lot. It is possible to find some companies that require no more than you being a native English speaker, though these are becoming rarer as regulations take effect. Having a TEFL certification is the most common requirement for an online teaching position.
What equipment do you need?
Most online teaching companies require their teachers to have a minimum of a laptop, stable internet connection and quality headset with microphone. These items would also be needed if you were to work freelance and you would also need access to a meeting platform such as Zoom or similar software as previously mentioned. When applying for a job it is common for a company to test your internet function to ensure the upload and download speeds are suitable. You should also have a quiet, uninterruptible space in which to work.
How do you get a job teaching English online?
There are three main ways of gaining employment teaching online:
1) Working for a company
There are literally hundreds of online teaching companies based all around the world. A simple search for “Teach English Online” will show many of these. The recruitment process is nearly always done online and follows a similar pattern to gaining any employment these days. You check the online jobs boards and find something that interests you. You send the required information to the company. They request an interview and you get a job.
2) Working with a profile company
Profile companies are for those who want a bit more than being fully freelance. With a profile company you post all your details in the form of a profile and the company will host (for a fee) those details on their website. This gives much greater exposure than trying to go it alone.
3) Working freelance
Freelancing is for anyone who needs total control over who they want to work with, when and where. Going down this path also means ensuring you have all the correct work visas and permits and that you complete all necessary tax forms and so on.
Working online does allow for some greater flexibility than being a face to face onsite teacher, however, you do need to be very familiar with the technology and possibly with government regulations regarding work permits and tax regulations.